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French press review 6 January 2016


There are lots of articles marking the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo killings last January in today's French papers and lots of debate about the security and judicial response to terrorism generally. Le Monde outlines plans to integrate many of the current emergency provisions into ordinary French law.


The weekly satirical paper Charlie Hebdo features at the top of two of this morning's front pages.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

Libération's main headline reads "Charlie's still on the loose," a reference to the fact that, despite the emotional and financial troubles which followed the January 2015 massacre of 11 members of the paper's editorial team, Charlie manages to keep its weekly date with readers.

The commemorative edition, on French newsstands today, had a print run of one million copies and a cover featuring a bloody-handed God, complete with Kalashnikov, and the headline "The assassin is still on the loose".

Libération's editorial accepts that the cover will offend some people, but reminds us that that's the whole point. If everyone started to approve of Charlie Hebdo, it would be time to close the paper down.

Despite the tragic losses of last year, says Libé, Charlie continues to beard the devout, the fanatical, the kneelers, the conformists and those who would tell us what we should think and believe. Charlie will, mercifully, survive.

The main story in right-wing Le Figaro wonders if France has really learned the lesson imposed by last January's terrorist attacks.

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

Certainly, France now has a new arsenal of weapons to use against terrorism says Le Figaro, but too many holes remain, notably in the key areas of policing and justice.

The right-wing daily welcomes the fact that new laws facilitate the crucial task of information gathering by the authorities, without questioning the possible downside of mass surveillance of our phone and web communications. The police, the army and the judiciary are all to benefit from increased budgets and manpower boosts. The current state of emergency is making life easier for those whose job it is to protect us ordinary citizens.

But. Training the newcomers is going to take time; there is anything but unanimity on how to deal with convicted terrorists; and it is not clear that the judicial situation is well adapted to the long-term fight against the menace we will continue to face.

Le Monde reports that, in fact, the government is currently working on a bill which would integrate most of the emergency measures into ordinary law.

For instance, the bill proposes giving additional powers to the police and investigators, allowing searches, house-arrest and phone-tapping even in preliminary investigations and simply on the order of the regional prefects. Le Monde says the proposed legislation will further marginalise the judicial institutions and strengthen the hand of the interior minister.

Communist L'Humanité is annoyed with the banks, claiming that those venerable institutions are actually robbing their customers.

Despite huge profits and massive payouts to shareholders, two major French banks have, since 1 January, started charging clients for the right to hold current accounts. If you leave your cash or overdraft with the BNP, that will cost you 2.50 euros per month. The rate at Société Générale is 2.00 euros.

That will add something like 500 million euros to the profits of the two banks next year.

The CGT trade union notes with bitterness that neither BNP nor Société Générale saw fit to increase salaries for their staff in 2015.

And L'Humanité, with bitterness verging on the explosive, says the French banks profited from no less than 211 million euros in tax credits from the government last year.

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